I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Genre: Urban Fantasy
eARC: 344 pages
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: August 7, 2012
Series: Princess of Twilight & Dawn #1
Yesterday Tab Bennett was a bank teller. Today she’s at the center of a centuries old war between Light and Dark. Tomorrow – well let’s just say she’ll be lucky if she lives to see it.
Engaged to her childhood sweetheart, employed at the local bank, and finally living on her own for the first time at twenty-four years-old, Tab Bennett has no interest in a fairy tale life. She’s perfectly happy with the normal one she already has. But when her sister is murdered on a moon-dark night, revealing a world of power and magic she never dreamed existed, a fairy tale is exactly what her life becomes. Figures it would have to be the Grimm kind.
Just like that, the life she had planned is over. Instead of cashing checks and handing out lollipops, Tab is unraveling clandestine assassination plots and learning to wield the magic that is her birthright. And as if fulfilling her destiny isn’t hard enough, she’ll also have to choose between Robbin, a man who’s turned out to be a lot more complicated than the proverbial boy next door, and Alexander, the handsome prince whose smile leaves her weak-kneed and weak-willed.
Now, while Tab struggles to hold on to the human world she’s always known and understand her place in the magical one she’s just discovered, dangerous forces are gathering close to home. If she wants to live to see happily ever after, she’ll have to figure out who she can trust, who wants her dead, and why. The answers will change everything she believes about herself, the people she loves, and the place she calls home.
I first heard about this book a little while ago on another blog (I can’t remember which so I can’t pass credit where credit is due — sorry!) and so I was quite happy when I saw TAB BENNETT AND THE INBETWEEN up on NetGalley.
TAB BENNETT AND THE INBETWEEN is an enjoyable read. It has a great cold opening, where Tab experiences her sister River’s death. (This isn’t a spoiler — it’s the first line of the book.) I was immediately drawn into Tab’s life and world, which is what I hope for when I pick up a book. And it seems like this is characteristic of Jes Young’s writing since I found myself engrossed in the plot, eager to find out what would happen next, especially since I’m a sucker for stories that involve the main character learning that s/he has a fated destiny that s/he never knew about. Some of the best stories involve this particular trope and I really don’t get tired of it. IN TAB BENNETT AND THE INBETWEEN, you get to see Tab go through all of the denial, confusion, and acceptance as some of her past is revealed to be lies. At times, I felt like she took to her fated destiny a bit too quickly but I generally found her reactions and responses authentic.
I also liked a lot of the world building that the author has used. In short, there’s an uneasy peace between the Inbetween and the Underneath. Tab’s mother was the queen of the Inbetween. While Tab was growing up in our world, the Inbetween has been weakening since it and its people gain strength from their leader. Meanwhile, the Underneath has been getting stronger since their king has been around. As a result, Tab needs to learn to master her gifts (which are different for everyone so no one knows what they are) and get accustomed to the fact that she’s a royal and will be sitting on the Inbetween throne just as soon as she gets her fae-legs underneath her, if you will. The mythology isn’t exceptionally original but it is well done, and there’s definitely something to be said for a well executed if familiar concept. This isn’t the only part of the story that feels predictable but I didn’t mind since the story moves along at a nice pace and there are some lovely moments between some of the characters.
The one part where the book felt forced was with the romance. Tab’s been in love with Robbin, her fiance, for ages but he breaks it off when he’s forced to reveal that he’s one of her guards and that their romance was contrived at the start. He does have feelings for her now but he’s forced to step aside so that Alexander can step in since there’s an enchantment that basically makes Tab and Alexander extremely horny for each other. I can get behind all of this but I didn’t really like how quickly Tab stopped fighting the enchantment and how much she waffled between the men. It seemed like the enchantment was a convenient way to add some steamy scenes and to create a love triangle without the love part (at least at the start), since Tab and Alexander had never met. Tab’s narration suggests that she’s experiencing a lot of conflict but I didn’t buy into this aspect of the story as much as others.
That being said, I did enjoy reading TAB BENNETT AND THE INBETWEEN and I’m looking forward to TAB BENNETT AND THE UNDERNEATH. I hope that the author has some surprises in store for her readers as we get to see a whole new side of the magical world that Tab’s a part of.